Ryan, a good friend with whom I served in Congress and who is passionately devoted to conservative ideals in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and his mentor, Jack Kemp, has stated many difficult truths that speak to the heartbreaking experience of the presidency of Donald Trump and the state of the GOP now.
I agree with everything Ryan has said. Strong words, of course.
What worried me most about so many mainstream conservatives during the Trump presidency was not their words but their silence and lack of meaningful action to resist the unprincipled crony urged by the former president when they controlled the levers of power. We were often told then of the need to work with President Trump and quietly persuade him behind the scenes to challenge or redirect his worst impulses. I never bought into this way of thinking.
Given Trump’s assault on GOP fundamentals, the futility of behind-the-scenes diplomacy represented a small loophole that made me and others question the dedication of many mainstream conservatives to ideals. and the values they had so often defended and embraced.
This kind of weakness, not speaking out publicly and the lack of legislative action on substantive political issues has created a political vacuum for extreme voices like representatives. Gaetz and Greene, who gained a foothold in the GOP with their politics of grievances, conspiracy theories, nativism, nihilism and dishonesty. We are now living with the consequences.
Owning the libs, complaining about transgender people in women’s sports, promoting the discredited stolen election lie and, above all, pledging to be loyal to Trump have emboldened the extremists and given voice to their nutcase.
As a former chairman of the House Ethics Committee, I can assure you that there was a time when members of Congress like Gaetz and Greene, who became embarrassing distractions, hid from public view and were often forced to resign to avoid shaming themselves and their families. and constituents. Now these members despicably monetize their notoriety by claiming victim status and relentless witch hunts in the media. So much for maintaining standards of conduct.
I only wish Ryan would push back harder when he got the hammer. In his remarks in California, there was no mention of any GOP leaders currently in the trenches, such as his friend and mentor, Sen. Mitt Romney, and Reps. Lis Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Meijer, John Katko and others who relentlessly catch fire from the dark forces. too dominant in the party and enraged by the impeachment votes of these courageous members.